Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Open Book

Reprise (2006) - Trier
Reprise focuses on two lifelong friends Philip (Anders Danielsen Lie) and Erik (Espen Klouman-Høiner) among a group of modern day, Norwegian city dwellers. The film starts with them sending out their first book manuscripts together to a publisher, hoping to launch their literary careers. It's sullen Philip whose work gets published first, leaving Erik somewhat disappointed but relieved at the same time. But soon after that, Philip has a breakdown and gets committed to a mental hospital, thanks largely to his obsessive relationship with lovely Kari (Viktoria Winge). Erik finally gets his piece of spotlight with his book titled Prosopopoeia. Then they deal with relationships, growing up and letting things go, sophomore syndrome, etc,.

A drama about writing/writers is very hard to pull off. Most of the time it comes across as excessively self indulgent or worse, pretentious. Trier's crisp staccato style, gorgeous cinematography (by Jakob Ihre), the literary world it portrays, and attractive actors all give an air of sophistication and can be easily mistaken as an urban hipster fantasy. But Reprise is a celebration of possibility of life. Their world is an open book and life takes them in many unexpected ways. Trier faithfully captures all those moments of nervousness, excitement and awkwardness of Philip and Erik without cliché required in movies about young adults. From the punk band concert days to meeting your hero to experiencing love and its complications, Trier seems he knows what he's talking about. There has never been a film about twenty-somethings this mature and sophisticated. Loved it.

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